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Russia's Move to Send Troops to Ukraine Spurs Talk of War

Published: March 3, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • An activist stands protected and on guard in Kiev.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Russian lawmakers have given President Vladimir Putin the go-ahead to use Russian troops in Ukraine, a move that has thrown the international community into a tizzy and prompted Ukraine to mobilize its own troops.

The Federation Council's approval of the measure on Saturday has further complicated the Ukraine crisis, which began with mass protests in Kiev in November after then-President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. Since then, Ukraine has been at the center of a tug-of-war between Russia and the EU — but only now has the conflict given way to warnings of World War Three.

Related: Local Activists Protest in Kiev

After Yanukovych's ouster and the establishment of a new de facto government, Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns for the safety of Russian-speakers in Crimea, saying they face discrimination and possible violence by the hands of nationalists.

It is precisely this concern that Putin cited when seeking lawmakers' approval for military involvement in Ukraine. He asked the upper chamber of parliament to allow him to use Russia's Black Sea Fleet based in southern Ukraine "in connection with extraordinary circumstances that have developed in Ukraine," which pose "a threat to the lives of Russian nationals" and to the Russian troops in Ukraine themselves, the Kremlin website reported.

Putin's concern seemed to be vindicated on Sunday, when Russia's Border Guard Service said it had recorded 675,000 civilians fleeing from Ukraine into Russia in the past two months, 143,000 of those in the past fortnight, Interfax reported.

Putin's request for military involvement came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama issued a stark warning to Russia, saying "the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."

Later Saturday, the Federation Council unanimously approved Putin's request, which is mandated by the Russian Constitution, Interfax reported.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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